With the pitiful range of options at HUDS, a big appetite, and a small budget, life is hard out here for a gluten free college gal. While my allergy prevents me from devouring Noch’s or Kong, luckily, Harvard Square presents a variety of eateries which cater to a gluten-free diet. Here are my top picks, all of which I’ve sampled these past two semesters:

For Pizza - Just Crust

Just Crust takes the prize with its goldilocks greasiness, thinner crust, and overall texture and taste. Often gluten-free dough falls between the extremes of burnt-and-bland cardboard or undercooked cardboard, but Just Crust gets it just right. Places like Domino’s and Otto’s only offer full gluten free pizzas, usually with disappointing diameters and for upwards of $13. Just Crust, on the other hand, allows one to satisfy their pizza cravings at a cheaper per-slice price.

For Mexican - Border Cafe

Corn tortillas or chips naturally do not contain wheat, making Mexican places normally a typically safe option for gluten-free folks. Unfortunately, square favorites like Felipe’s and Jefe’s contaminate these options by sharing surfaces and fryers with flour tortillas, making them iffy or dangerous for those with allergies. But Border Cafe takes extra care with preparing your food, so you can be sure your corn tortilla tacos are good to go. Most importantly, the overflowing baskets of still-warm chips brought to your table throughout the meal are fried separately, so you don’t have to feel too guilty about filling up before you’ve even looked at the menu. An honorable mention goes to Chipotle, which falls in “Mexican” territory but is really in a league of its own.

For a Sit-Down Dinner - Beat Brasserie

Favorite dishes include “Luxe” pulled-pork nachos, shrimp tacos, and ‘Fall Off the Bone’ baby back ribs. With pricier menu items, dim lighting, and live music, it’s the perfect spot to have your parents or friends treat you to on a special occasion.

For Dessert - J.P. Lick’s

Most J.P. Lick’s ice cream flavors are naturally gluten-free, and its cheery atmosphere and proximity can’t be beat. Everyone, your non gluten-free friends included, likes J.P. Licks, so you can accommodate your dietary needs (yes, ice cream is a need) and won’t have to force your gluten-eating friends out of their comfort zone. An honorable mention goes to Sweet Bakery, which always has a couple gluten free options like cupcakes or brownies, brought in from dedicated gluten-free facilities.

And if you’re feeling adventurous...check out these places ~beyond Harvard square~

Mr. Crepe - Davis Square

Gluten free sweet and savory crepes!

Tavern in the Square - Central Square, Porter Square

Clearly marked “gf” menu items include nachos, fancy pizzas, burgers and sandwiches with gluten free buns, and safely-fried french fries, tater tots, and onion rings!

Thelonius Monkfish - Central Square

This fancier restaurant, which fuses a sushi bar with a jazz bar, has an extensive gluten-free menu, boasting fried rices with gluten-free soy sauce and rich Pad Thai.

Al Dente - North End

Gluten-free pasta and bread are hard to come by, and this authentic Italian restaurant offers both!